About a month ago my friend Cindy and I went to go see the jaw-dropping remake of Red Dawn (and that's an entirely different story—wow, what an amazingly delusional Tea Party wet dream) in downtown Brooklyn, and stopped at the Community Bookstore down the street afterwards. For those that haven't been, this spot is a messy, musty treat. Like a thawing ice cream cone, dripping across your fingers before you can catch it, the walls of Community appear to be constructed out of cascading paperbacks. Spines crush into covers, mass market wedges hold up the lot—a giant game of Jenga, pulling out any one volume might cause the entire building to spill.
Picking through the wreckage, Cindy yanked out a slim hardback entitled Pilot Bails Out. I'm not sure what caught her attention, but the cover immediately grabbed mine. At first it looked like one of the Rockwell Kent wraps for the Boni Paper book series—a similar atmospheric block-print-style drawing executed effectively in a powerful duotone. Complex yet efficient, bold but not intense. It turns out the artist—and author—Don Blanding was a hugely popular poet in the 1930s and 40s, publishing multiple successful books (150,000 copies or more for some of them) on small West Coast publishers before moving to New York heavyweight Dodd, Mead, and Company.
We've still got our popular offset-printed, spiral-bound organizers, deftly hand-crafted by Eberhardt Press, and featuring work by Justseeds artists in tandem with a clean, user-friendly interface guaranteed to be more intuitive than your smartphone. Copies of the new, larger 5x8" size are running low, but the ever popular 4x5" organizers are still in abundance. Order one for yourself today, and grab a couple for your friends/coworkers/comrades!
My dad works as a Guardian ad Litem in rural North Carolina. As such, this year he was collecting donated Christmas packages from Toys for Tots, a project of the local Marine Corps Reserves, to distribute to some of the children in foster care under the auspices of the Department of Social Services. We were surprised to find this Marines Alphabet Book inserted into a package destined for an 8-year-old boy.
I can't argue much with Toys for Tots' practice of distributing free toys to kids that are on rough times (even if the official mission of the organization is Christmas-specific), but this book is dark stuff to put into the hands of a second-grader. Besides "assist(ing) them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens" it also seems like they'd like to interest some "less fortunate youngsters" to think about becoming hired guns when they're old enough to enlist. It's tempting to rip into this hard-hearted and tactless little piece of propaganda, but I'm inclined to let the images speak for themselves...
This week is the last installment of covers from the second series of Anarchy magazine from London, which ran for 38 issues from 1971 to 1985 (see the previous entries HERE). As we have seen, that fifteen year stretch was a bumpy road, with dozens of different editorial members, directions, designers, and cover artists. This week we'll look at the last six issues. To the right is the cover of #32, a great follow-up to the cover of #30 which captured the explosiveness of the Brixton Riots. Here we have the response—repression by the police. The shadows and craggly lines give the face a deeply sinister look, this is not your friend. And once again the designers employ visual tropes which will later become extremely popular among anarcho-punk bands. A different version of this same idea found itself on the cover of Doom's 1989 single, "Police Bastard."
The horrific massacre that transpired in Newtown hit me hard. Not simply because I am a parent and a teacher, but because gun violence has become so rampant and so senseless. I remember being in Colorado last summer and passing through Aurora and wondering how such an event could happen. I live ten minutes from Oak Creek, Wisconsin and had that same sense of dismay and hopelessness. I also live in a city where the sound of gun shots and sirens is common - almost nightly during the summer months. A night without sirens is odd. I wish that all assault weapons could be wiped off the face of the earth. Here is an image that I made encouraging their ban.
Ten days ago I returned to the US after three months in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I'm still adjusting to being back, waking up at 4 in the morning, grumbling at the cold rain. I've been wanting to write here about my experiences but have had trouble figuring out where to start.
I spent two and a half of those months in Obenge, a village of about 350 people far up in the midreaches of the Lomami river, Orientale province, eastern DRC. I was volunteering with a project called TL2, named after the three rivers that drain the area, big rivers winding torturously north towards the mother river, the Congo.
Welcome back to part six of my focus on the second series of the UK magazine Anarchy. Last week we looked at a series of covers done largely by anarchist artist Clifford Harper. This week we return to a bit more scrappy period for Anarchy. Harper appears to have flown the coop. The cover of #27 to the right is still strong, but functions better as a mini-poster than as the cover of an ongoing publication. There is no issue, no date, no price, and no clear masthead.
I'm in Windsor for the weekend doing 1W3KND writing residency with fellow OCADU student Jason Deary at Broken City Lab's Civic Space.
So far I've gotten a little walking tour of downtown Windsor, in a flurry of preparations for a Holiday parade. The quiet downtown is a bit surreal with speakers blasting Christmas carols and children posing for photos in front of an ice sculpture of a beaver.
Now I'm hunkering down for some focused writing on public space and transformative engagement. Stay tuned!
More about 1W3KND and Broken City after the jump.
Last summer I participated in a project called Steamrolled Pittsburgh, in which 9 artists made representations of different neighborhoods in woodcuts and then the blocks were steamroll-printed as part of a fundraising event for a local nonprofit. I had an incredible time learning about a neighborhood called Homewood (my print in on the bottom left). Now, the prints are being showcased at the libraries around the city. This Sunday, December 16th, there will be an opening from 1 - 4 pm at the Carnegie Public Library in Oakland, Pittsburgh.
Back in June I wrote a long critique of Kickstarter, which has recently been published in the Baffler. I just realized I had failed to share it here on Justseeds! Here's the first section, and you can read the entire thing on the Baffler's site HERE.
At least twice a week I get an email asking for support for a new project via Kickstarter. More often than not I pledge money, wanting to act in solidarity with friends and acquaintances with giant ideas but small bank accounts. And Kickstarter, once a promising platform for artists and other cultural producers to raise money, has become the go-to tool for fundraising by writers, artists, designers, political activists, and even popular musicians and award-winning filmmakers. As more friends use it, and as I cough up more and more money with every visit to the website, it seems a good time to try to crack it open to see how it works—and who it really works for.
I don't know how they're doing it, but our friends over at PM Press have an exciting 50% off sale on all their titles running until the end of the year (Dec.31)! If you're anything like me, their catalog brings on uncontrollable salivation. Also if you're like me, you still haven't really dealt with holiday shopping (and won't for another week or more). Perhaps this is a good time to stock up on polemics, manifestos, history, pamphlets, theory, and the like?
StreetArtNYC give a nice mention of Justseeds exhibition "Sowing the Seeds of Love" with some images on their blog. Thanks!
Great review by Ana Alvarez in Brown University College Hill Independent
To read the article on the Brown University College Hill Independent click here.
This week we've got some great covers! To the right is Anarchy #21. I actually should have included this issue—and the next one, #22—with last weeks entry, as it fits better within the design arc of issues 19 and 20 then most of the ones we'll look at this week. The cover is composed of a half dozen images of people at work, printed in a rich brown. The work is varied, from the factory floor to the home, the office and the market. The bottom strip, in contrast, is a group of masked people (maybe in Italy?), with the words "fight to live" superimposed over them. The images are intended to illustrate the lead article inside, "The Right to Work or the Fight to Live." This would have been more effective if the bottom photo had been printed in black, setting it off clearly from the work images.
If you have a holiday order that needs to arrive by Dec. 24th, please place your order by Dec. 17th! ...although we can't make any guarantees, you know... and we won't be packing orders Dec. 22 - 25... happy holidays!
This is my print for the Sowing the Seeds of Love show at Munch Gallery in New York. It's four color reduction print (four shades of grey!) turned into a GIF. It's a riff on a WPA print about the Philadelphia port done by Robert Muchley in 1936.
Daniel McGowan is a Brooklyn-born environmental and social justice activist, political prisoner and the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary film, If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front. Family & Friends of Daniel McGowan have marked the anniversary of Daniel's arrest on December 7, 2005, with a variety of events in the past.
This December, Daniel is finally getting released from prison and coming to a halfway house in Brooklyn. To celebrate, we are having a straight up PARTY.
Please come join our celebration the evening of Friday, December 7, 2012, 7:00-11:00 pm at The Commons.
We'll have music, snacks, and drinks, and lots of fun holiday surprises. Whether you're a long-time supporter or joining us for the first time, you're more than welcome and you don't want to miss it! We are accepting cash donations and gift cards. (see below)
Friday, December 7th, 7-11pm
@ The Commons
388 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Here's a couple of install shots to whet your appetite for tonight's opening reception at the Munch Gallery in NYC.
Friday December 7th, 7-9 p.m.
245 Broome St
‘Sowing the Seeds of Love’ by collective group, Justseeds, is the newest exhibition in conjunction with Munch Gallery. Each artist has created a unique piece specifically for the gallery, and all original work will be accompanied by limited edition work. The exhibition will also include a site-specific collaborative mural. We are excited to present the first Justseeds group exhibition in New York City.
Artists include: Jesus Barraza, Kevin Caplicki, Melanie Cervantes, Santiago Armengod, Alec Dunn, Molly J Fair, Thea Gahr, Nicolas Lampert, Josh MacPhee, Fernando Marti, Colin Matthes, Dylan Miner, Roger Peet, Jesse Purcell, Pete Railand, Favianna Rodriguez, Shaun Slifer, Chris Stain, Meredith Stern, Mary Tremonte, Bec Young.
Exhibition runs December 7-23, 2012
Check out the Facebook event
I will tabling this weekend at Marché Smart Design Mart in Montreal come check out some prints.
Presented at Future Tenant (downtown Pittsburgh), Guns vs. Butter is a new exhibition of anti-war graphics that brings together the contemporary print work of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative alongside posters from the historical collection housed in the Interference Archive. The exhibit contextualizes the work of current socially-motivated graphics alongside a history of posters as an integral element of popular grassroots movements against war, colonialism, and military occupation. Highlighted is the 2011 portfolio project “War Is Trauma”, a collaboration between Justseeds, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), and the Booklyn Artists’ Alliance. (details below)
Review in The Daily Campus at University of Connecticut
Here is the direct link to read the article on their website.
See Red Women's Workshop
Institute of Contemporary Arts,
The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH
Exhibition runs from 5 December 2012 - 13 January 2013
This exhibition is a studied look at the See Red Women's Workshop collective and their associated ephemera of protest and Women's Liberation.
Dedicated to the ideals of the second wave feminist movement, and with the founding objective of designing and producing images that explored and questioned the role of women in society - 'the personal is political' - See Red Women's Workshop was an alternative screen print collective focused on solidarity and revolt.
Please note that the exhibition will be accompanied by an essay by Dodie Bellamy and a screening of Nightcleaners on Tuesday 11 December at 6.30pm.
“We don’t cross borders; borders cross us” is a 12 poster series organized by the Cross Border Collective. The objective of the posters is to invite an engaged audience to consider a series of propositions about the Australian border, labor, race and incarceration.
You can check out the entire project HERE.
With issue 15 Anarchy goes through another facelift. For this, and the next three issues, we've got a straight sans serif masthead in white on a fading, dark to light, half-toned background, with a central box featuring an image and the contents inside. This return to set style is intended to help increase sales, as the price has also been lowered and issue numbers are once again placed on the cover. The image on this cover features a toy police officer ("Soft Cops") done up in a nice red and blue duotone. Sadly the use of black for the text at the bottom is wholly unnecessary, as we can see from the overlap of blue and red in the cops moustache that overlapping the colors to render the type in the dark purple that combination produces would have made for a more cohesive and pleasing design. But all in all it's not so bad, and the toy cop floating in the white box makes for a compelling image.